More Cruise Clothes
Like I mentioned in my post for my packing test run, I needed a few more items for my cruise. I wanted another dress and bathing suit so I'd have more options on the trip. So I went to JC Penney on Monday and found not only three dresses, but also two bathing suits!
The American Living Empire-Waist Dress is my favorite dress that I found at the store! I think it will be perfect for our formal dinner on the cruise.
This dress is the Worthington Side-Draped Drop-Waist Sheath Dress and is a bit more casual, but I still think it will be nice for a dinner dress.
This dress is from Ana and wasn't on the JC Penney website. It's very comfortable and flowy...just hopefully not too flowy for a windy day!
This is the Liz Claiborne Bandeukini Swim Top and Classic Hipster Swim Bottoms. I love that even though it's a 2-piece, it still looks almost like a 1-piece.
The Liz Claiborne Shirred Halter 1-Piece is a classic silhouette. I think it is very flattering for all shapes and sizes.
The best thing about doing this blog post is that it led me to the JC Penney website, where all the clothes I bought are on sale for less than I paid. Now I just need to compare prices to see if it's worth re-ordering everything online for the cheaper price!
Cruise Tips & Free Upgrade!
Ever since booking my cruise I have been scouring the Cruise Critic website. I have read all of their "First Time Cruisers" articles and spent hours upon hours going through their message boards. Here are some of the tips and tricks I've picked up along the way, some specific to Royal Caribbean and others more generic:
The last tip worked out awesome for me! Yesterday morning I decided to check out the Cruise Critic Price Drop tool and noticed that balcony rooms on my cruise had dropped price significantly. I was originally booked in a Promenade room, so I was one step below a balcony. I called customer service at Royal Caribbean and asked them if they could check and see if I was eligible for an upgrade.
The guy I spoke to was very nice and said that I was indeed able to get a free upgrade to a balcony room! I was super excited because all along I wanted a balcony but couldn't justify spending the extra money, especially because I'm alone in my room and still paying the price for two people (which honestly baffles me).
The best part of the story is that I emailed the group I'm traveling with and they called and got the free upgrade for the other three rooms in our group. Two of the rooms are even adjoining, so we can remove the balcony divider and have a balcony twice the size of a normal one! I can already envision spending evenings on the double balcony drinking wine and watching the sunset!
There must be a ton of other tips and tricks out there for cruising, so if you have anything else you'd like to add please make a comment below.
Packing Test Run for Cruise
My Eagle Creek packing cubes arrived the other day and I wanted to try them out right away, so I decided to do a packing test run for my trip. Here is a look at everything I'm taking.
As a carry-on, I will be using my green Coach travel bag because it has comfortable straps, it zips closed, and it hold a lot of stuff. The items included in my carry-on are:
Inside my carry-on I will also have a little zipper pouch with all of my cords in it. It will have cords or chargers for my iPhone, iPad, laptop, and camera.
Along with my carry-on bag, I will also be taking my full-size purse on the plane with me. I will only be using this purse during our time in Daytona and will use a smaller cross body purse for the cruise. Some items in my purse include:
Inside my checked suitcase will be two cases for toiletries. The smaller one is specifically for my shower items and the larger one is for everything else. Here's a closer look at both.
The smaller case is from Soap & Glory and it came from a holiday gift set. I held onto it because I thought it would come in handy some day, and now it has! The items in my shower kit include:
Inside my larger toiletry bag I will be taking:
The zipper pouch inside my larger toiletry kit will be for first aid items. They include:
My travel manicure set will include:
I will also be packing a mini laundry kit in my checked suitcase, which will have:
During the trip I plan on keeping a Smash book of our adventures, so I am bringing the Simple Style Smash book along with a zipper pouch of supplies, including:
Some other items that will be packed in my suitcase are for my cabin stateroom. They are:
And now, finally on to clothes and accessories. The pictured accessories above include:
Here are all of the clothes and shoes I'll be bringing on the trip for both Florida and the cruise. If you're interested, you can see how my outfits are broken out in my last blog post. My list of clothes includes:
This is the final product once I loaded everything into my suitcase. The suitcase itself is a SwissGear Checklite 24" Upright in Charcoal with spinner wheels. I bought it at Target for about $160. I'm hoping the light gray color will make it stand out from the other 95% of suitcases on the luggage carousel that will be black.
And that is a look at everything I am taking on my trip! I believe I've thought of everything, but if I am missing something that you have found handy on a cruise before, please let me know in the comments!
Outfits for Cruise
I found this cruise outfit guide on Pinterest and it motivated me to put together my own outfits for the cruise I'll be going on in a month. Here are the different outfits I'll be wearing on my 11-day trip:
I've done this for past trips and usually something changes along the way and the outfits don't end up being exactly as planned. But at least I know I've got enough clothes to last me the full 11 days and I won't be forgetting anything!
I may re-think the skirts on the at-sea days because I've heard it can get really windy on the ship's deck and I don't want to have to hold down my skirt all day long. I am also going to purchase some comfortable walking shoes to wear on our excursions, so the flats in the pictures will likely be swapped out for more appropriate walking shoes.
Online it says we will have one formal dinner for our five-day cruise, so I'll at least bring the dress pictured above and will likely buy another one or two casual dresses that I can wear to dinners on the other nights in case I feel like being a little more dressy.
I am a very organized person, so I was excited when I learned about Eagle Creek packing cubes. I originally heard about them on YouTube from Ingrid, whose channel is called missglamorazzi. Here is a link to her packing video in case you want to see the packing cubes in action.
Like I mentioned in my last post, I'll be going on an 11-day trip in about a month, so I am in full-on planning mode. I already have a list put together of what I'm bringing along with a newer, bigger suitcase ready to be packed. Once I saw Ingrid's video, I knew that packing cubes were going to be super helpful. I went online to Amazon and got a few of them. Here's what I ordered:
The garment folder is probably the coolest piece I ordered. Instead of describing how it works, here's a video where you can watch it in action. The size that I ordered holds up to seven items at a time. The reason I chose the smallest one is because it's almost the same size as the pack-it cube, so they'll stack nicely in my suitcase on top of one another.
I plan on doing a full post of my packing process, so I'll share pictures with you of the packing cube, tube, and garment folder in action!
Cruise Packing & Preparation
In exactly 43 days I will be boarding my first cruise ever! I am so excited that I've already started a packing list and have already bought stuff for the trip.
The actual trip itself is eleven days and the cruise will be for five nights. We will be flying into Orlando on Thursday, April 24 and staying in a condo in Daytona for two nights. On Saturday, April 26 we will drive a car from Daytona to Fort Lauderdale, which is where we are boarding the cruise ship.
Our cruise is through Royal Caribbean and we will be sailing on the Liberty of the Seas. We have one day of sailing, then we stop in Belize on Monday, Cozumel on Tuesday, and another day of sailing on Wednesday. We get back to Fort Lauderdale on Thursday at 7:30am. After that we return to Daytona and will stay until Sunday, May 4, when we fly out of Orlando.
I am staying in a promenade stateroom, pictured below.
The promenade staterooms look out over the Royal Promenade, which is like the "downtown" area of the ship with shops, bars, and food. Here is what it looks like on our ship.
The Royal Promenade is located on Deck 5 and my room is on Deck 6, so I will be looking down on all the action throughout the day, which apparently includes parades!
Now that I've given you an idea of what the trip will be like, I want to share some packing tips that I've been picking up during my preparation for the cruise.
Here are some items to pack that you may not think to bring:
I will keep you posted as the cruise gets closer. I've already booked my excursions, so I'll definitely do a blog post about what we'll be doing on the cruise.
Recipe: Cheese Crackers
One ingredient. Ten minutes. Awesome recipe!
Today I tried a recipe for cheese crackers from healthylivinghowto.com. I already had some pre-cut pepper jack squares on hand, so I decided to bake them and see how they turned out. Oh my goodness, they were so good!! I couldn't even wait until they were totally cooled off before I ate them all, so they may be even better when they are crispy. The best part is that four crackers were only 80 calories, so I could easily see myself making these as a healthy-ish afternoon snack.
Here is the recipe:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
Add cheese slices leaving about 1/2 inch between.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until browned.
Using a paper towel, dab each cheese slice to absorb the oil.
Leaving cheese on parchment paper, transfer to wire rack to cool.
Will crisp once completely cool.
I'm sure these would be great as an appetizer served with some kind of dip or as a side to soup like healthylivinghowto.com recommends, but I honestly enjoyed them all on their own!
I am always looking for new recipes, especially ones as quick and easy as this one. Send me your favorite easy recipe so I can try it out!
This is the second half of my 2014 fiction reading list, which includes another five books that I will be reading this year. My main issue with my reading list in general is that I love to re-read my favorite books, so sometimes it's hard to make myself read a new book when all I want to do is go back and read books that I love. But now that I've laid out the top ten new books I want to read this year I think I will be more likely to stick to my reading list!
I can't remember where I heard about The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp, but it's supposed to be a great movie and I'm looking forward to reading the book first. Here is the summary from Amazon:
This National Book Award Finalist is now a major motion picture -- one of the most buzzed-about films at Sundance 2013, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller.
SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.
Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go
forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.
Splintered by A.G. Howard is one of the books I'm the most excited to read this year. It sounds very interesting and the best part is that there's also a second book called Unhinged (I'm a sucker for a great book series). Here is the summary of Splintered from Amazon:
Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa must face her worst fears and step through the mirror to find the origins of the curse. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy-but-suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.
I have heard good things about The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, but I'm going to have to make sure I'm in a good mental state before I read it because I've heard it's a tear-jerker. I've also seen the trailer for the movie and it looks really good. Here is the Amazon summary:
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
After seeing and loving the movie based on The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, I knew I had to read the book. Is it just me, or are there a lot of movie adaptations from books right now? I think half of my reading list has been made into movies! Here is the summary from Amazon:
Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending—the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!
Every Day by David Levithan is another book that sounds intriguing. It kind of reminds me of the plot for Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, which was a book I really enjoyed. Here is the summary from Amazon:
In his New York Times bestselling novel, David Levithan, co-author of bestsellers Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, introduces readers to what Entertainment Weekly calls a "wise, wildly unique" love story about A, a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living a different life. This new paperback edition features six additional chapters about A's earlier life.
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.
And that's it, the final five books on my 2014 fiction reading list! I've already read the first two books of the Divergent series and am about halfway through the third book. Now I just need to decide which book to read next…so many options to choose from!
My Happiness Project: The End
Back in October I started my own happiness project, based on the book by Gretchen Rubin. Five months later, I have decided that I have accomplished more than I was hoping to achieve. I originally thought that it would take me a year to get through everything, but I realize now that I've already gotten much more out of my happiness project than I had ever expected.
Here are some of the things I have been able to do while pursuing my happiness project:
I'd say that's a good amount of things to accomplish in less than half a year! Overall I am pleased with the results and I feel good about investing my time and energy into being happier.
My name is Beth and I live in Denver. I am a single lady in my 30's and wanted to start sharing my awesome and amazing life through a blog.